Koprivshtica is a small museum town in Bulgaria, situated in Sushtinska Sredna Gora in the valley of Topolnitza river and about 2 hours drive from the capital Sofia. Koprivshtisa is remarkable historic reserve.
Koprivshtitsa is a captivating mountain town, unique with its cobblestone alleys, houses painted in bright colors with expansive verandahs and picturesque eaves.
During the Ottoman rule, Koprivshtitsa withstood many a raid, it was reduced to ashes several times, its inhabitants were frequently robbed and driven away.
The wealthier townsfolk managed to “ransom” Koprivshtitsa from the Turkish rulers and win some special privileges, thus keeping the Bulgarian traditions and atmosphere of the town intact.
In this way Koprivshtitsa was able to preserve its freedom-loving, patriotic spirit and hand it down to its children. Many Bulgarians who laid down their lives for the liberation of their motherland had been born here:
Todor Kableshkov and Georgi Benkovski – organizers and participants in the April Uprising which broke out in Koprivshtitsa on April 20, 1876. The Uprising gave voice to the desire and efforts of the Bulgarian people to win back its freedom after five centuries of Ottoman oppression. A lot of foreign journalists reported the events of the spring of 1876 and showed the world that there was a people on the Balkan Peninsula which had not lost its identity and strive for independence. Eventually, in 1878 Bulgaria won the freedom it had so long yearned for, at least partly helped by the publicity of the April Uprising and its subsequent brutal suppression.
Ljuben Karavelov – a Bulgarian poet, writer and revolutionary;
Petko Karavelov – a widely respected public and political figure;
Dimcho Debelianov – a poet who wrote some of the most tender poems in Bulgarian literature;
Najden Gerov – a writer, publisher, man of letters, ethnologist and patriot;
Joakim Gruev – a teacher, fighter for religious independence, man of letters and a public man
Together with many other Bulgarians who took part in the wars of liberation and the two World Wars – teachers, artists, craftsmen.
The Legend of “The Jupa”
It is alleged that the roads connecting the towns Zlatitza, Pirdop, Strelcha and Panagurishte crossed exactly where the town of Koprishtitza is located.
Situated in a beautiful valley, covered with lush green grass, watered by several small streams; this locale was a perfect resting point for caravans, travelers and traders.
One Bulgarian family was attracted by the uplifting and inspiring nature of the region as well as its calm climate, and decided to settle in this area. This family union with its cattles was known as the “The Jupa”. They started a new village. The family grew and the houses increased in numbers, and before you know it small clans began to develop. Almost every man in these clans received a nick name because of their skills, work traits, or unique behavior. There ware names like Tihanek (derived from the word quiet), Kozlek (derived from the word describing a goat keeper), and Lomek (derived from the word ruin). These names developed into neighborhood names, some of which exist to this day.
This theory is confirmed by the fact that the modern day Lambov’s neighborhood is still named “Jupa”.
Photography: Sylvia Trifonova